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Encyclopedia > Container format

A container format is a computer file format that can contain various types of data, compressed by means of standardized codecs. The container file is used to be able to identify and interleave the different data types. Simpler container formats can contain different types of audio codecs, while more advanced container formats can support audio, video, subtitles, chapters, and meta-data (tags) - along with the synchronization information needed to play back the various streams together. A computer file is a collection of information that is stored in a computer system and can be identified and referenced in its entirety by a unique name. ... Codec is a portmanteau of coder/decoder, which describes a device or program capable of performing transformations on a data stream or signal. ... An audio codec is a computer program that compresses/decompresses digital audio data according to a given audio file format or streaming audio format. ... In printed material In printed material, a subtitle is an explanatory or alternate title. ... Tagging is a term used in a number of contexts for different purposes, mostly referring to adding a tag of some form. ...

Some containers are exclusive to audio:

Other flexible containers can hold many types of audio and video, as well as other media. The most popular multi-media containers are: WAV (or WAVE), short for WAVE form audio format, is a Microsoft and IBM audio file format standard for storing audio on PCs. ... In music, a riff is an ostinato figure: a repeated chord progression, pattern or melodic figure, often played by the rhythm section instruments, that forms the basis or accompaniment of a rock music or jazz composition. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Audio Interchange File Format is a file format standard used for storing audio data on PCs. ... Mac OS, which stands for Macintosh Operating System, is a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Computer for their Macintosh line of computer systems. ...

  • AVI (the obsolete standard Microsoft Windows container, also based on RIFF)
  • MOV (standard QuickTime container)
  • MPEG-2 TS (acronym of Transport Stream, standard container for digital broadcasting)
  • MP4 (standard container for the MPEG-4 multimedia portfolio)
  • Ogg (standard container for Xiph.org codecs)
  • ASF (standard container for Microsoft WMA and WMV)
  • RealMedia (standard container for RealVideo and RealAudio)
  • Matroska (not standard for any codec or system, but it is an open standard).
  • 3gp (used by many mobile phones)

There are many other container formats, such as NUT, MPEG, MXF, ratDVD, SVI,and DivX Media Format. AVI, an acronym for Audio Video Interleave, is a multimedia container format introduced by Microsoft in November 1992, as part of the Video for Windows technology. ... QuickTime is a multimedia technology developed by Apple Computer, capable of handling various formats of digital video, sound, text, animation, music, and immersive panoramic (and sphere panoramic) images. ... MPEG-2 (1994) is the designation for a group of coding standards for digital audio and video, agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group), and published as the ISO/IEC 13818 international standard. ... MPEG-4 Part 14, formally, ISO/IEC 14496-14:2003, is a multimedia container format standard specified as a part of MPEG-4. ... MPEG-4 is a standard used primarily to compress audio and video (AV) digital data. ... For help with sound or video, see Wikipedia:Media help. ... The Xiph. ... A Codec is a device or program capable of performing encoding and decoding on a digital data stream or signal. ... Advanced Systems Format (formerly Advanced Streaming Format) is Microsofts proprietary digital audio/digital video container format, especially meant for streaming media. ... Windows Media Audio (WMA) is a proprietary compressed audio file format developed by Microsoft. ... Windows Media Video (WMV) is a generic name for the set of streaming video technologies developed by Microsoft. ... RealMedia is a multimedia container format created by RealNetworks. ... RealVideo is a proprietary video codec developed by RealNetworks. ... RealAudio is a proprietary audio format developed by RealNetworks. ... Matroska (common file extensions being . ... Open Standards are publicly available and implementable standards. ... 3GP is a multimedia container format defined by 3GPP for use on 3G mobile phones. ... NUT is a patent-free, multimedia container format started by the MPlayer and FFmpeg developers. ... MPEG-1 is the designation for a group of audio and video coding standards agreed upon by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group). ... Material eXchange Format (MXF) is a container format for professional digital video and audio media defined by a set of SMPTE standards. ... The ratDVD logo ratDVD is a highly compressed file type, containing all the contents of a Digital Video Disk (DVD) movie. ... A switch virtual interface (SVI) represents a VLAN of switch ports as one interface to a routing or bridging function of a network switch. ... This article is about the video codec DivX. For the pay-per-view DVD system, see DIVX. DivX® is a video codec created by DivX, Inc. ...

See the Comparison of container formats for details regarding these formats. This table compares features of container formats. ...


The differences between various container formats arise from five main issues:

  1. Popularity; how widely supported a container is.
  2. Overhead. This is the difference in file-size between two files with the same content in a different container. For a two-hour film, when in AVI, the file may be up to 3MB larger than when in Matroska.
  3. Support for advanced codec functionality. Older formats such as AVI do not support new codec features like B-frames, VBR audio, VFR natively, although the format may be "hacked" to add support, creating compatibility problems.
  4. Support for advanced content, such as chapters, subtitles, meta-tags, user-data.
  5. Support of streaming media

B pictures (often called B frames) are one of the three major picture types found in typical video compression designs. ... The term variable bit rate (VBR) is a term in telecommunications Quality of Service. ... Variable frame rate is a term in video compression for a feature supported by some container formats which allows for the frame rate to change in the middle of a film. ... Streaming media is media that is consumed (read, heard, viewed) while it is being delivered. ...

See also

This table compares features of container formats. ... This is a listing of open source multimedia codecs and containers. ...

Related links

  Results from FactBites:
HTML as music packaging format (1212 words)
The problem with this method is that metadata and packaging must be redesigned and reimplemented for every audio or video file format, of which are an endless number, and every program which wants to handle audio or video metadata must be extended to parse each one of these formats.
Packaging formats such as zip and tar can contain any kind of file because the contained files and container files are in formats which are clearly separated.
Using HTML as a container format for media files is made possible by the "data" URI scheme.
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The general approach towards storing digital audio formats is to sample the audio voltage (corresponding to a certain position in the membrane of a speaker) in regular intervals (e.g.
It is important to distinguish between a file format and a codec.
The WAV format is based on the RIFF file format, which is similar to the IFF format.
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